Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fudgey Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Meringue Icing

I made this as my birthday cake last week. I wanted a dark (almost black) chocolate cake, and a white icing. But not just any typical buttercream - a fancy, grown up icing. Suited for a fancy, newly-27 Megan.

The cake turned out well! Perhaps this getting older and wiser thing is not a complete falsification.

You start off with the dry ingredients. Just like you're making any other chocolate cake.

Now, for the wets (most of them). Whisk together till homogenous.

Here's where things get a bit odd. Mix butter (cut into tablespoons) into a cup of hot coffee.

Get it to melt. Involve a microwave if necessary.

Alternating between the two liquid mixtures, add them to the dry mix slowly. 

The batter is basically chocolate soup at this point.

Take your sprayed and lined pans....

And fill them equally with batter.

Gently move them to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then rotate the pans. Bake for another 15 minutes.

Let them cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then flip them out and allow to cool completely.

Which gives you just enough time to make the icing. 

Over a double boiler, whisk egg whites and sugar until the mixture reaches 140 degrees.

Once you've hit the magic number, move the eggs to the bowl of your KitchenAid and turn the speed to high.

Beat them until you form medium peaks and the mixture cools to as near room temperature as you can wait for it to get to.

Take a stick of butter and chop it into small chunks. Beat it in gradually with a bit of vanilla. 

Pound up a bunch of pistachios.

You're ready to layer!

Cake - icing - pistachios. Repeat 2 more times. 

The leftovers don't keep very long - mostly because they get eaten. Otherwise, I imagine they'd definitely keep for longer than a day....

Fudgey Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Meringue Icing
Cake adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, Icing from Use Real Butter

For the cake:
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. flour
3/4 c. dark unsweetened cocoa
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
pinch of salt
1 c. buttermilk or substitute
3 eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp butter, soft
1 c. hot coffee

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray and line each of three 9" or 8" round cake pans with parchment. Spray the pans again.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Melt the butter in the coffee in a different small bowl. Alternating between the two liquids, slowly combine them into the flour mixture. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate pans and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove pans from oven and allow cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Flip the cakes out of the pans and allow to cool completely.

For the Icing:

6 oz egg whites
1 c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick of butter (1/2 c.)
Crushed pistachios (for topping)

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, start the icing. In a double boiler, whisk the egg whites and sugar until the mixture reaches 140 degrees.

Remove from heat and pour into the bowl of your KitchenAid. Whisk on high for several minutes until firm peaks form. Continue to beak on medium speed until the mixture cools to near room temperature. 

Cut the butter into small cubes. Beat into the meringue in small installments (don't dump it all in at once). Beat in vanilla.

To compose the cake, start with a layer of cake, add a layer of meringue, then a layer of crushed pistachios. Repeat 2 more times. It gets messy, so I'd put out a bit of parchment first.


  1. Oh my, looks delish! That icing certainly looks fancy! :)

  2. This is AMAZING! Mmmmmm. Thanks for posting :)

  3. Thanks ladies! I'd say this easily ranks among my favorite cakes. But I'm not allowing myself to make that icing more than once a quarter. It's too good. I end up licking the bowl, spoon, my fingers...